It’s very difficult to write a retelling that will do anything but pale in comparison to an original. But in a way, it’s a wonderful opportunity to tell an important story in a way that is more accessible to people who might not read the original!
Writing New Girl and using Rebecca as a guide was very challenging at times. One of the reasons it was challenging was the very reason I was retelling it. For example, the main character in Rebecca is miserable for half of the story because she is weak. She doesn’t assert herself and she doesn’t talk to Maxim. She lets herself be sad little thing, instead of having any sense of self worth. In New Girl, I had to have her feeling much of the same on the inside, but she had to battle it because she’s a modern day girl. It’s not in our nature anymore to be bulldozed by boys, for example, and the main character in Rebecca did let that happen. That was probably the most challenging part of modernizing this gothic-era story. It was transforming that meek character into one for this time period—I had to give her spine, in short, and since a lot of the story is based around fear, jealousy, and dishonesty, that was difficult.